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January 14, 2014

A&M-Commerce women’s coach prepares team for LSC play

COMMERCE — The win-loss column does not reflect the hard work the Texas A&M University-Commerce Lion women’s basketball team has put in, according to head coach Nicole Anderson.

Anderson said she deliberately scheduled the team, currently 2-11 overall and 1-3 in conference play, against tough non-conference opponents to prepare them for the difficulties they will face in the Lone Star Conference.

“We made the choice to schedule very, very hard teams,” she said. “We played a lot of (NCAA) D1 schools. It was very challenging but we got a lot out of it.”

The Lions have been playing injured. Junior foward La’Tisha Hearne broke her foot early in the season but not want that injury to end her season, according to Anderson.  After a check-up with the doctor, Hearne has been playing with the broken foot and is still averaging 6.3 points per game and 5.7 rebounds per game.

Anderson said although the tough schedule has caused her team to take a hit in its record, the team is now prepared to contend with the top of the LSC.

“In order to perform at a national level, you have to play the best,” she said. “We’ve got it in us and I’ll keep pulling it out.”

A weak point Anderson said needs to be fixed soon though is the ability to be consistent.

“We have some things we need to work on,” she said. “We just have to be consistent in both halves.”

The Lions recently bested conference rival Midwestern State 71-64 at home.

After winning that game, Anderson said she is confident her team will be a top contender for the LSC championship.

“Winning the game solidified in my mind that we are where we need to be,” she said, adding along with Midwestern State she thinks West Texas A&M and Tarleton are their top rivals. “I will be incredibly disappointed if we are not in the top three.”

Junior guard Devin Oliver agreed with Anderson, and added the team knows it has the talent to become LSC champions.

“As a team, we believe we have the most talent,” she said. “The first step was beating Midwestern. I think we’re taking the steps to becoming conference champs.”

Two Lions, senior forward Breanna Harris and junior guard Danielle Dixon, are encroaching on career milestones. Dixon is 17 points away and Harris needs 58 to be the ninth and 10th players in A&M-Commerce history to pass the 1,000 career point mark.

Harris also has other numbers that will go down in the history books.

She is currently ranked second in the LSC with 16.5 ppg and 11.6 rpg, and is also second all-time in rebounding at A&M-Commerce, needing just 71 more rebounds to eclipse Katedria Mosely for top honors.

“She is one of the few players in the nation who is averaging a double-double,” said Anderson. “She is obviously one of the best players in the LSC. She’s a tremendous student.”

As a team, the Lions lead the LSC in offensive rebounds (16.5 rpg).

“I like the fact that people know we are going to crash the boards and keep them off the 3-point line,” said Anderson. “We want to play a fast-paced, exciting to watch, and fun to play game.”

No matter what happens though, Anderson said she is proud to coach this year’s team.

“This is a classy bunch of people,” she said. “It’s a blessing to be able to coach them; it’s just wonderful. I’m excited for them and excited for them to show you what they can do. Stick with us.”

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